Category Archives: Painter’s musings


Meet the jurors….

Meet the jurors…
Schaefer International Gallery 2015 Portrait Challenge.

Seeing that your new best friend (me) has been given the fabulous opportunity of showing at the Schaefer International Gallery’s 2015 Portrait Challenge I thought you all might like to know a bit more about the folks who possess such obvious good taste: the jurors.

I am just learning about them myself, and one of the coolest things I know about them is that they come from all over the state — not just our beautiful Maui, but the Big Island and Oahu are represented as well.

Esther Shimazu

First let’s meet Esther Shimazu, the juror from Oahu. A picture is worth a thousand words, and plenty has been written about Ms. Shimazu, so how about we just take a look at a few of her sculptures.


Warm Green 2010, 13″ x 16.5″ x 10″

Ms. Shimazu was born in Honolulu, Hawaii in 1957. She attended the University of Hawaii at Manoa before transferring to the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, where she received a Bachelor of Fine Art in 1980 and a Master of Fine Art in 1982.


Fire Horse 2011, 13.75″ x 15.5″ x 5.5″

I just love the faces of her characters in the sculptures, don’t you? And the spirit that comes through in their expressions and poses – I could study them for hours!


Come Sit By Me 2010, 13″ x 10″ x 10″

You can read more about her at her website or at the Wikipedia entry for her:

Keith Tallett

Next up, Keith Tallett. Mr. Tallett is a mixed media artist who was born and raised in Hilo, on the Big Island. He is also a second generation surfboard shaper and tattoo practitioner of traditional Polynesian patterns.


Mobile Homeland, commercially produced carts with a variety of custom modifications that currently include unique fiberglass panels, lifted wheel units and mobile taro farming capabilities.


Flying Hawaiians, mixed media, 48″ x 72″

In Flying Hawaiians, pictured above, Mr. Tallett points out how new Hawaiian culture meets old with his use of tires — definitely part of the current obsession with cars as symbols of status — to evoke the traditional patterns of Polynesian tattoos — also external signs of personality and identity.


Contemporary Craft (artifacts)

I love how Mr. Tallett uses a variety of media to explore the past and present, from the most traditional and personal expression of individuality and identity (tattoos) to a more communal expression of culture and history (his mixed-media installation “Mobile Homeland”).

You can read more about Mr. Tallett and his approaches to his work at his website,

Sidney Yee

Finally, let’s meet Maui-based artist Sidney Yee. Yee was raised in Waipahu and earned his degree in secondary art education from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. He spent several years teaching art at Leilehua High School as well as running the art program at Lahainaluna High School on Maui. Mr. Yee’s work can be found in public and private collections including that of the Hawaii State Foundation on Culture and the Arts, and the Honolulu Academy of Arts.

art2aM Made vs N Made 2

Since I could find no website for Mr. Yee, showing you his most recent or relevant (to his job as juror) work is nigh on impossible. That’s interesting to me because of all three jurors it is Sidney Yee’s work with which I am most familiar, having shown with him at ArtMaui this year.



After quite a bit of time searching the web I was finally able to find these three paintings which I feel  express who he is as an artist. I apologize for the quality of the top two pictures. I felt rather as if I were dumpster-diving in trying to find biographical information or images of his work suitable for reproducing here, which by no means reflects his quality or reputation as a brilliant artist. I adore his work!

So there you have them — three esteemed artists offering their eye and expertise to select 66 artworks which they feel depict our people and culture from around the state.

For more information about the Schaefer Gallery and the 2015 Portrait Challenge (with the names of all 64 artists selected), as well as information about the current show at the Schaefer, visit their website at

And be sure to check out the Portrait Challenge show in January.

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They like me, they really really like me!

They like me, they really really like me!

I know it’s been a while since I’ve written, but I’ve been really busy, this time in the studio, working on my self-portrait. I finished it just in time to leave for a family vacation to my hometown of Cincinnati. Thank goodness, because originally I had counted on the couple of days between my arrival back home and the competition due date to put the finishing touches on the painting.

Had I gone through with that plan the painting wouldn’t have made it into the competition, because, as happens to lots of people on family vacations, I ended up in the hospital.

Yes, you read that right: family vacation, hospital, Cincinnati (a long, long way from my home on Maui).


The story of how I landed in the hospital on the very day of the family reunion for which I had travelled so far is a very long story that I won’t bore you with here, but suffice it to say that it put the kibosh on a lot of my plans. The most important part of the story is that the good docs at Mercy Hospital in Cincy thought I had a pulmonary embolism (blot clot in the lung) and grounded me from  flying until, four days after my travel date, they decided I didn’t. What they were looking at was an old embolism that we’d known about for some time.


I was finally cleared for travel the day after the painting was due at the Schaefer International Gallery for judging.

Had I stayed with my original plan not only would the painting be unfinished, but it also would not have been available for my studio mate, Taryn to deliver it to the Schaefer. (Finished or unfinished, were it not for her generosity I wouldn’t be writing this particular post. Thank you, sweet Taryn – I will always be indebted to you!)

So, with that backstory, on to the reason for this post.

Here on the lovely island of Maui there are several major events for artists that make our hearts go pitter-patter as the time for them approaches. Two of them, Art Maui ( and the Schaefer International Gallery Portrait Competition ( are juried competitions, and are considered to be prestigious presentations of the best of artists practicing in Hawaii.

As my regular readers may remember I was honored last winter to be included in Art Maui (Stephen Jost, Director of the Honolulu Museum of Art was the juror).

And (drum roll, please) I was recently notified that the portrait I painted for the Schaefer Portrait Challenge was also accepted.

To say I am excited is somewhat of an understatement. No, a MAJOR understatement. I am beyond thrilled, so honored, SO over the moon that this is happening to me, a relative newcomer to Hawaii’s artist community.


What makes this honor even more exciting for me is that not one, but two of my friends and colleagues, were also accepted.

My dear Taryn ( made it into the show (yeah, Taryn!) and my good friend Kathleen Kastles ( was also accepted (WooHoo, Kathleen!). You can bet that there will be some major celebrating at the Artist’s Reception on January 11!

The jurors for the Schaefer Portrait Challenge were: Esther Shimazu (O‘ahu), Keith Tallett (Hawai‘i Island), and Sidney Yee (Maui).

While I can’t show you the painting until after the show opens on January 13, the Schaefer does publish a very high quality catalog. When I get more information about how to get your hands on one I will post it here.

I am thrilled, and extremely honored to be among the artists selected for these prestigious shows.

I guess they do like me.




I often tell my students – every painting has at least one “fail” day. That’s the day you swear to yourself that you’ve completely forgotten how to paint, or that your painting sucks, or you suck (either as a painter or, if the painting is REALLY failing, as a person), and that you and/or your art will never amount to anything.

Today was one of those days for moi.

I used to blame it on not being in the studio enough, but I’ve been in the studio every day this week except yesterday. So it’s just me. Part of my process.

I’m lucky. I have a guy living with me who can remind me, when I’m bitching about my painting day, that it’s all part of the process, that I go through this on every single painting I make, and that I should just be thankful that it’s already over and done with so I can move on.

If you’re alone with your painting hell, it’s not that easy.

So I am here to personally remind you that you and/or your painting WILL fail one day. You’ll forget how to paint, or how to glaze, or how to draw.

Let yourself fail. In fact, CELEBRATE your failure. Its over now, and you can move on.

Perhaps you’ll have another fail day, and that’s ok too – it will then be over as well.

If you need any more encouragement to celebrate your failures, remember what our mothers used to say – “every time you fail you learn something.”

So learn from yours, even if what you learn is just the fact that you WILL fail.

Now, please excuse me – I am going to go and drink a toast to my failed day with Richard.


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And the winner is…

And the winner is…

Dan Toloudis, a former student of mine and painter extraordinaire!! Dan correctly guessed that I mixed ACRYLIC (nasty, NASTY stuff that) with my oils, which caused any oil pigment I mixed with it to dry quickly and then, when brushed, roll itself into tiny little balls, or, as I prefer to call them, boogers.

Here’s what happened:

As you probably already know I entered two paintings into Art Maui — the largest juried competition in Maui County. Art Maui requires that all paintings either be framed, or have clean edges.

I’m not the neatest painter in the world, so I chose to paint the edges white (I sometimes use black but these paintings are lighter and airier and I just thought white would be better).

Now, I always use acrylic paint for edge painting because it dries so quickly. I have a large tub of black acrylic, but I bought a brand new tube of Titanium White acrylic for these particular paintings.

This edge painting took place about three weeks ago (I know, I know, I should have been in the studio far more often and this never would have happened).

Anyway – when I eagerly filled my palette with paint the other day I grabbed the white from the top of my taboret. After the BOOGER thing happened and neither Taryn nor I could figure out what was causing the über drying of the colors-mixed-with-white I was scratching my head and wondering “WTF?” when I looked over at the taboret and noticed that awful word, that HUGE word…


on the tube of Titanium White.

WN_AAC_TitaniumWhite_200mlMystery solved.

Like I said – I felt sooooooo stupid!!

Lesson? Store your acrylics far away from your oils, and then after you use them, put them away!!!

Dan, choose your print. All of the “Surf and Sand” series are available. And please send me your snail mail address in an email.



Solve the mystery of the BOOGERS and win!

Boy do I feel stupid!

The other day I went into the studio to paint – in fact, that day was the day I did my “hand job” work.

What I didn’t tell you about that day is that the hand job didn’t go as smoothly as you might believe.

Oh, no. That hand gave me quite a bit of trouble, and not for any obvious reason (couldn’t see the shadows correctly, couldn’t make the fingers look like anything but hotdogs – you know those nasty little problems that crop up when you’re trying to depict flesh and muscle on bone?).

No, the reason that hand gave me a nasty case of the “really??? Is this what painting in Hawaii is like?” blues was for a MUCH more technical reason.

Tell you what. I’ll describe the problem, and the first person that comes up with the correct answer wins one of my mini prints.

No, I’m serious. Really. Read what I have to say and if you leave a comment naming the reason for my frustration and it is the correct reason, AND the time stamp on the comment shows you as the first person with the correct answer I will send you your choice of my “Surf and Sand” series mini prints.


So — I arrived at the studio and had to completely scrape off the old gobs of paint that had been sitting on my palette since the last time I painted – like, maybe, two years ago? No, ok, it was a couple of months. I know, I know, I should have made time to get into the studio but I was busy with things like cancer and stuff, ok?

Not that I’m bitter.

Anyway – I scraped off all the old paint, and luxuriated in the placing of fresh, new gobs of paint on my palette. Oh yes – the same order every time: white, lemon yellow, cad yellow, cad red light, cad red medium, cad red deep, yellow ochre, raw sienna, burnt sienna, raw umber, burnt umber, alizarin crimson, cerulean blue, cobalt blue, ultramarine blue, sap green. Always the same, every single time.

On that day my paints were somewhat scrambled into a heap in my tiny taboret, so rather than just being able to reach for the correct paint, I had to scramble a bit, except for the whites, which were all on the top shelf of the taboret.

(I’m giving you a big hint here – please appreciate it.)

Once the palette was filled I proceeded to start work on the infamous hand. Things were going rather well, considering I hadn’t painted in over two months. I always “forget how to paint” on these back to the studio days, so I actually was pleasantly surprised to note how well things were going.


I noticed when I reached for my familiar flesh tone formula (lemon yellow, alizarin crimson, and white) that the paint had dried on the palette.


Huh? I kindof looked around to see if there were a reason – perhaps the fan was too close to the palette.

I moved the fan.

Paint still dried in minutes.

Never had this happen before – how strange!

I added a little oil, this being the third or so layer on the canvas, and noted something even more strange.

boogersThe paint was balling up into little, well, I can only call them boogers — on the canvas. Argggggh!

This wouldn’t do, no it wouldn’t do at all!

I added a bit more oil and tried again. Boogers!

At this point my studio mate Taryn came in and I told her about the little problem I was having, and she offered to loan me a bit of slow-drying medium, to see if somehow the weather was making the paint dry faster.

I tried it. Same result.


So I took a break. (Fast forward running out for BBQ chicken at the local Hawaiian BBQ place, coming back, eating said chicken, all the while studying the canvas and noting the presence of even more little rolled up balls of paint. Or boogers.)

That’s when I realized something.

I looked at my palette carefully, and realized that ONLY THE COLORS I HAD MIXED WITH WHITE were drying on the palette.

That is a HUGE hint, folks. I mean really, I am practically GIVING away the print for nothing!!

But that’s all the hint you get.

What was causing my paints to dry so quickly on the palette, and what was causing all those boogers (I love spelling that word) on my canvas???

Leave your answer below – I can’t wait!!!


The results are in…

The results are in…

Thank you to everyone who has been rooting for my paintings to be chosen for Art Maui 2014. It means so much to me to know that there are folks out there who love and are championing my work. Mahalo nui loa (thank you very much) to you all.

“White Hair on the Beach” was chosen to be included in the show!

White Hair on the Beach

White Hair on the Beach 60″ X 42″ oil on canvas

It seems very fitting that Stephan Jost, the juror and Director of the Honolulu Museum of Art, chose “White Hair on the Beach” for inclusion in the show. “White Hair” is a painting based on a photo I took on Oahu during a trip there with Richard’s parents a few years ago. We stayed in a lovely 15th floor condo on a perfect little crescent beach near Makaha and I took hundreds of pictures while standing on the lanai, looking out over the glorious Pacific Ocean, never dreaming that one day I would be living in this beautiful state.

WOW. How serendipitous was that trip?

The Artists’ Reception for Art Maui is this coming Sunday night, March 23, and Richard and our dear friend Patty (whom we consider part of our Ohana (family) here on Maui) will accompany me. I am eager to see the rest of the artwork chosen, and meet some of the other Maui artists who entered the competition.

Again – MAHALO to all of you who were cheering me on.

It seems that this week (and last week , actually) are meant to be devoted to non-studio work, so no update on painting progress today. However, I did make an exciting discovery — at least for me — about past painting progress posts (HA! I think I’ll leave that lovely little bit of alliteration intact!).

You see, when I switched (kicking and screaming) from Apple’s now-defunct-but-so-easy-to-use web page software iWeb to WordPress a couple of years ago, I lost the ability to connect to my past iWeb files. In fact, I thought I had actually lost the files themselves, which was crazy heartbreaking considering they represent hours and hours of blogging, not to mention months of painting progress.

In the meantime, my laptop had been having some severe issues, which caused it to go to the Mac docs (fittingly this also happened to be during my period of spending way more time than I’d like to with docs of my own) and when I got it back I decided to do some sorting, organizing, and deleting of files.

And while sorting, organizing and deleting, I found ALL of my old blog post files — intact, with photos included — on my hard drive.


So, someday (as soon as I figure out how to do it) I will be able to backload this blog with the posts that came before. That may not be exciting for you, but for this lady it was almost — ALMOST — as exciting as having my painting chosen for Art Maui.

Til next time…….

White Hair on the Beach

Please welcome new subscribers, and while you’re at it…

Please welcome new subscribers, and while you’re at it…

You can welcome me back to the land of the living.

It’s been one hell of an entry into my new life on Maui, but I think I’ve finally made it all the way through the gauntlet. If anyone or anything else is waiting out there to whack me in the head, please. just. go. away.

’nuff said. I will not belabor this. Radiation is behind me, possibly THE worst cancer experience of my life but my body, mind, and spirit are ready for new challenges and most of all, new FUN!

Which brings me to…

The Maui Open Studios event (my first “show” on Maui) at which I met so many lovely art enthusiasts and artists – it truly was a wonderful way to meet Maui’s art-loving folk. And so I say “welcome” to the new subscribers to this blog who came my way via that event. Thank you again for attending and signing my guest book and agreeing to let me bore…er…inspire you with my very occasional blogging about my art practice.

In the next few days I’ll bring you up to speed on where I am with my latest painting, but for now I want to share some absolutely nerve-wracking news.

Yesterday I sent two of my precious babies off into the real, grownup world.

Delivered them into the hands of virtual strangers, people who have absolutely no history with them.

I am, as you might imagine, frightened for them. Will they be treated kindly, or will they experience the humiliation of rejection? Will they garner praise for their positive attributes, or face ridicule for their defects? Will they be understood and loved, or will they face misunderstanding, guile, and neglect?

Of course I am holding my breath, waiting for news of their fate, these, my two precious babes:

Time to Go, 60″ X 42″, oil on canvas

White Hair on the Beach

White Hair on the Beach, 60″ X 42″, oil on canvas

 Yes, yesterday Richard helped me deliver these two paintings to Art Maui 2014, one of, if not the largest all-isand all-media art events on Maui. Today and tomorrow this man


is deciding the fate of my beloveds, as well as the work of over 350 of my fellow Maui artists. To say I am wringing my hands is an understatement. I have to constantly untangle them just to type this post.

Seriously, I am beyond nervous, but pretty damned excited as well. That juror up there is none other than Stephan Jost, the director of the Honolulu Museum of Art, and trust me, it’s not everyday that my paintings get to be seen by a museum director.

The folks over at Art Maui 2014 are pretty excited about this year’s juror as well, and you can read all about him on their website (which is where I stole borrowed his photo from).

I will know tomorrow night, after 8pm, if either (or both – heck – let’s aim high!) of my paintings are selected for the show. If so you can be assured that you’ll be getting an announcement of some type. I may even show up on your doorstep shouting to the heavens! Hey, I’ve done stranger things, believe me.

And what if my works are NOT selected, you ask? (How dare you bring doubt to my blog post! BE GONE oh negative thinker!

Oh wait, I wrote that question.)

If for some unfathomable reason my works are not selected for this year’s exhibit, I will crawl back to the Schaefer International Gallery at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center, retrieve my two HUGE paintings, trying to remain unseen as I wrap them up in protective paper, and then tuck my proverbial tail between my legs and slump off into the mist.


I’ll be fine.

No, really, I will. Comic relief aside, one show does not a career make, and I’ve been around long enough and in enough juried competitions to know that art is an extremely subjective thing, and what one juror deems perfect another might cast aside. So if I don’t make it this year, there is next year, and the year after that, and the year after that.

So stay tuned! I will definitely keep ya posted!

GO #artmaui2014 !